How transparent could college football's playoff selection process become? Try a media member in the room monitoring selection committee proceedings. BCS executive director Bill Hancock suggested as much to CBSSports.com on Monday.
“I think it's a great opportunity for transparency,” said Hancock less than a week after BCS presidents approved a four-team playoff. “Maybe we have an ombudsman, maybe we have a writer come in. There are ground rules as to what you can write, but you're welcome to be in this room. I think we have a chance to do some really cool things.”
The idea is just that for now. The NCAA scored points with the media a few years ago when it instituted an annual mock NCAA tournament bracket to break down how the field is assembled. But that proceeding is staged. Hancock is suggesting that an actual media member watch the playoff sausage being made. Think of a media member listening to the discussion one year as Alabama is left out in favor of Boise State.
As Hancock mentioned, there may be ground rules but just getting in the room would be fascinating. The prospect of a human selection committee has been a major talking point since playoff meetings began in January. Its size, composition and power will take up talk show segments from now until the playoff debuts in the 2014 season.
For now, we know the committee will number between 11 and 19 persons based on comments from various commissioners. There seems to be some consensus that the committee would be composed of one representative of each of the 10 FBS conferences. The roster would then be filled out with wild card members with no particular affiliation.
(RE: wild cards, one source suggested longtime Richard Giannini and Jeff Schemmel as candidates. Giannini is the recently retired Southern Miss AD who once worked at the NCAA and has an extensive television background. Schemmel is the managing director of the college division of JMI Sports, an athletic consulting firm in Overland Park, Kan. Schemmel has experience as AD at San Diego State. Prior to that he was Conference USA associate commissioner for governance and legal affairs. He also has administrative experience at Minnesota. Me? I'd suggest Steve Hatchell was a wild card. He is president and CEO of the National Football Foundation. It would be great exposure for the NFF. )
Hancock has more experience as these types of things, perhaps, than anyone. He worked 16 years administrating the Final Four at the NCAA.
“Using the basketball committee as a model, we don't have to reinvent the wheel,” Hancock added.
When the idea of a media member in the room was run past Steve Richardson, he loved it. Richardson is the longtime executive director of the Football Writers Association of America. He said approximately 15 members of the Harris Poll last year were FWAA members. FWAA members routinely vote in the AP poll.
“Certainly [Hancock's idea] would be positive,” Richardson said. “Maybe that person could be president of the Football Writers on an annual basis … someone who is going to have a perspective on things. In the [NCAA] tournament they've considered that but they've never done that. They haven't taken that next step. In this particular instance, that would be a great idea. The Football Writers would embrace that type of activity.”
Now, about those ground rules …